Even though the offseason is two weeks old for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the sting from their disappointing 8-8 finish still has not faded.
One of the major reasons that the Steelers missed the playoffs for only the second time under head coach Mike Tomlin was failure to execute on offense down the stretch.
In his end-of-season address, team president Art Rooney II acknowledged that the offense was playing well, particularly quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but that all came to a halt after Roethlisberger was injured (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
"Obviously, after he got hurt, our offense seemed to lose its rhythm. Even when he came back, we never really regained that momentum. I think you have to look at, OK, when our quarterback was healthy, what did we have? I thought what we had was pretty good, not that there weren't things we wanted to improve on.”
Those areas of improvement will have to come from both the coaches and the players.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Roethlisberger will have to continue to progress with the offense, but they may need some new personnel to achieve this.
In the first of a two part series examining the free agent and draft priorities, I will examine the priorities on offense.
The free agency and draft priorities will be rated as “low” if the Steelers need a minimal investment in the position, such as a veteran at a league minimum or a sixth or seventh-round draft choice; “medium” if they need to spend on a mid-level free agent or a draft choice between the third and fifth round; “high” if the Steelers must spend a significant amount in free agency or a first or second-round selection.
Here is a position-by-position look at Pittsburgh’s priorities on offense.